Play Ball: Israel Baseball League Nears Reality

With team names like Bet Shemesh Blue Sox, Netanya Tigers, Petach Tikva Pioneers, Jerusalem/Gezer Lions, Haifa/Nahariya Stingrays and Tel Aviv Lightning the new Israel Baseball League is ready to sell tickets.

New baseball league says Israel is next frontier for the sport

MIAMI -- Ivan Gluck is a utility man who can pitch and play first and third base as well as the outfield. But at 67, the Holocaust survivor said he'd settle for being waterboy in a fledgling baseball league that looks to export America's pastime to Israel.

"I'm not looking for stardom," he said. "I just want to make the team."

The enthusiastic but unsuccessful Gluck was one of 65 hopefuls at Friday's tryout for the Israel Baseball League, which welcomes Jews and those of other faiths. Organizers hope to start play this summer, and want to turn the violence-torn country with only one full-sized baseball diamond into the next great baseball nation.

"Hopefully, the region will be stable so we can play ball in the summertime," said player development director Dan Duquette, a former general manager for the Boston Red Sox and Montreal Expos. "But you know, baseball could very well be a unifying force for the country. And wouldn't that be something if it was?"

The league has attracted castaways from major league teams, former college and high school players who never got their shot at pro ball and regular fans looking for a chance.....

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